July 14th, 2014
06:27 PM ET
5 years ago

Elizabeth Warren bashes Wall Street in West Virginia

Shepherdstown, West Virginia (CNN) – Elizabeth Warren doesn’t roll deep.

The Massachusetts senator and reigning champion of progressives everywhere arrived right on time Monday afternoon for a campaign event in West Virginia, this one for Democratic Senate hopeful Natalie Tennant, Warren’s latest stop in a national political tour boosting 2014 candidates. Her slight frame slid gingerly out of the passenger side of a blue SUV – her own car, with Bay State plates – and she greeted a volunteer with a golly-gee smile.

“Oh! Looks like it started to sprinkle out here!” Warren said, peeking up at the sky.

There was no entourage, no security detail. Just an aide left behind to park the car. Not knowing where to go, Warren wandered right into the side entrance of the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown and strode up to a police officer standing idly.

“Hi, I’m Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Well it’s nice to meet you!” the officer replied. Her aide arrived, conveniently in time to box out an advancing reporter, and escorted her down a hallway.

The low-key arrival was not, it turns out, an indicator of the reception she would receive inside.

In a ballroom packed with nearly 400 West Virginians, Warren was greeted like a bona fide celebrity, met with multiple standing ovations, a cascade of selfie attempts and a few shouts of “2016!”

What followed was a pugnacious and folksy speech packed with the kind of full-bodied populist rhetoric that has thrust her into 2016 presidential conversation alongside Hillary Clinton – whether she wants to be there or not.

“The way I see this, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, all those other guys on Wall Street, they’ve got plenty of folks in the United State Senate willing to work on their side,” she said, jabbing her hands into the air to make her points. “We need more people in the U.S. Senate willing to work on the side of America’s families.”

Tennant, she said, “is strong, she is independent, and she won’t let anybody roll over her.”

Warren talked about her working class upbringing in Oklahoma, telling the story of her mother taking on a minimum wage job at Sears, an effort to save their home after her ill father could no longer work. She humble-bragged about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – the “little consumer agency” she helped launch – noting that it’s already recovered $4 billion from banks and credit card companies for American customers. And she bashed Republican opposition to her student loan bill, which would have lowered interest rates but was blocked in the Senate, saying the GOP’s first priority is defending big banks.

“The Republicans say no to raising the minimum wage, they say no to equal pay for equal work, they say we have to cut Social Security in order to make our budget balanced, they say no to those pension promises,” Warren said sternly. “They say it’s more important to stand up for Wall Street than it is to stand up for families across this county. Well I tell you what. They can say it, but they are going to lose.”

That the country’s most famous liberal showed up here, in a conservative-trending state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996 despite its deep Democratic roots, was a bit unusual.

Tennant, trailing her Republican opponent Shelly Moore Capito by 10 points in the polls, has been distancing herself from President Obama throughout her campaign, pushing back most recently against new Environmental Protection Agency’s rules aimed at reducing coal emissions by 30% over the next 15 years. Tennant on Monday went so far as to call the regulations “disgusting.”

But Warren, too, has praised the EPA proposal – putting Tennant in the tricky spot of explaining why she would appear with Warren but not the President. Tennant gamely tried to defuse the situation in a session with reporters, many of whom made the short drive from Washington to the state’s eastern panhandle.

“We don’t agree on everything,” Tennant said. “We are here today to talk about education, about lifting the middle class, about saying no to Wall Street.” As for Obama? “If the President came to West Virginia, he would have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to these energy jobs and our coal jobs,” Tennant said.

She framed her speech the same way – embracing Warren’s middle class populism in full, but distancing herself from anything touching on Obama and coal.

Tennant was rolling out a new education plan and lavished praise on Warren’s student loan reform bill. More than once, she blasted “corporate greed” – and threw darts at House Republicans for proposing Medicare cuts and allowing unemployment benefits to expire last year. Those were none-too-subtle jabs aimed at Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who was five hours away in Charleston campaigning for Capito, an effort to steal some of Warren’s earned media thunder.

“Washington was all too happy to help out Wall Street but when our friends and neighbors in West Virginia needed a helping hand when they were looking for work, Washington had no help for them,” Tennant said.

That was just the warm-up act. Warren was the main event, attracting an adoring audience that included a number of high school and college students who said they appreciated her student loan push.

Without prompting, others said they hoped she would seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

“She speaks up for the underdog,” said Warren McKimmie, a self-described liberal from Harper’s Ferry. “She is the only one who speaks up for the underdog. I am very torn because I want a Democrat in the White House, but I’m not sure its Hillary. To me she would be more of the same. Warren is a fighter for us.”

On the way to her car after the rally, Warren was asked how it felt to be met by such friendly audiences on the campaign trail. Similar crowds have met her in Kentucky and Oregon and Ohio – and she’s a shoo-in for a standing ovation at the liberal Netroots Nation conference later this week in Detroit.

“People understand what’s going on,” Warren said. “They know what’s at stake in the races in 2014, and they are willing to get out there and fight. That’s what I see in those crowds. That’s what I love in those crowds.”

Before reporters could follow up with other questions, Jane Yearout – the head of the Berkeley County Democratic Party – ran up to her car screaming. Like Warren, she said was an Oklahoma native, and she wanted a hug. Warren gave her one, then departed.


Filed under: Elizabeth Warren • West Virginia
soundoff (922 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Hey, is that Elizabeth Warren, the Native American?

    July 15, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  2. Chyatt

    Hardly. One scandal away from joining the rest.

    July 15, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  3. George

    She looks real exciting. YAWN.

    July 15, 2014 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  4. RIpete

    Warren lied her way to the "top" with the false claim of being a Native American (all the while she had an early relative ensuring the Native Americans being displaced from Georgia/Florida stayed on the Trail of Tears. Warren and hubby both gave their authentic recipes to be included in a Native American cookbook "Pow Wow Chow" – both of their recipes were taken from previously published cookbooks. She took credit for the "occupy movement" until all the adverse publicity about drug use and crime appeared – then she left the scene. Maybe she is the one who orchestrated the new Central American occupy movement on our southern border. She is a disgusting and dishonest being.

    July 15, 2014 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  5. Andrew

    I hope Faux-cahontas runs for the Presidency. She is one of the biggest liabilities for the Democratic Party. Run, girl! Do the Republicans a favor.

    July 15, 2014 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  6. Jeff w.

    Elizabeth warren is classified as a liberal dem, or progressive no really how bout democrat socialist. No lets be truthful here how bout hard liner communist? She hates free market capitalism yet drivea around in a blue suv instead of a prius or riding a bike. Poor dem example as usual. She whines about minimum wage. Switzerland has no minimum wage yetthey seem to be doing pretty well for them selves. Ever since minimum wage started at what around $2.50 perhour I remember $3.75 for sure till now and its gone up evwer since. Still no improvement of peoples lives . Minimum wage is dems way of keeping people in poverty for power, for control.

    July 15, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  7. enoughalready

    From the state that brought you THE LIAR KERRY, yet another liberal waste who began a political career with a gigantic LIE!!
    Another masculine looking liberal excuse for a woman....maybe she looks better in her feather headdress!

    July 15, 2014 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Warren.... yet another demoRAT who seeks to destroy the United States of America.

    July 15, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  9. Mike

    Sorry, Elizabeth Warren W.V. will be putting a Republican in the Dems seat this fall. Roll WV Coal!

    July 15, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  10. Tams

    I can't believe anyone would have a bad thing to say about this woman. The people complaining are likely the people who'll need assistance from the government one day. You better be careful what you wish for. You just might get it and believe me, you'll be sorry.

    July 15, 2014 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  11. eddiebjr

    Perfect Democrat. She got her cushy Professorship by being a fake Indian. Nothing is better to qualify a Democrat to be a candidate than having no integrity.

    July 15, 2014 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  12. Jim

    I appreciate Senator Warren coming to the state I was born and raised in to deliver a populist message. Though I understand what you are saying you are late by about half a century. West Virginians have followed Democrats and it has led us to nothing more than a welfare state. We want jobs, infrastructure and the ability for our kids and grandchildren to be able to make a living in the state where they were born and raised. Until you can make solid promises on those issues instead of drumming up another culture war talking point you are wasting your time. Shelly Capito will be the next woman Senator.

    July 15, 2014 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  13. Art

    To the morons who keep saying that the democratic controlled senate is the reason why her student loan bill wasn't passed... Please learn how the government works. Besides the fact that every news organization both conservative and liberal have reported that it was the republicans who blocked the bill, the fact is that the republicans wouldn't let it get out of committee and come to the floor for a vote. You are just showing your ignorance on how the government works. It would have passed if it came to a vote. What a bunch of dolts.

    July 15, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  14. Integritywhere

    You can count on one hand the number of U.S. Senators with the courage and integrity to stand up to the banksters. Thank you Elizabeth Warren.

    July 15, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  15. FLOYD MARTIN

    She lied her way into office and now she is a Democrat Star?
    I was amazed when the people of Massachusetts elected Scott Brown Senator after Ted Kennedy?
    I was stunned when they elected this phony Indian Princess to take his place?

    July 15, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  16. Patrick M.

    This Warren character is a graduate of the same school of politics as Obama and Hillary: The Potomac School of Really Big Whoppers.

    July 15, 2014 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  17. tony

    the nazi in high command thought they were right. that to controll the world for there benifitwas ok. so how is it differant for wealth and big business controlling the world for their benifit differant than what the Nazi were doing

    July 15, 2014 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  18. TDK

    You got to be kidding???

    July 15, 2014 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  19. jpmzo

    It would be tremendous gift if Elizabeth Warren were the democrat nominee in 2016!Only California, D.C or my pathetic home state of Massachusetts would elect such a creature. All her talk against Wall Street while her party's president has collected more blood money from those parasite than any other politician in history.

    July 15, 2014 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  20. tony

    fake indian is that like a fake veteran like GW ask him to show you his DD214 he dosen't have one. Playing GI George dont make you a veteran not in his era. and a real service man don't show up for muster for 180 days. Lie ask for active service and denied when they were taking anyone and everyone. Oh I believed that one. and shes a liar well no on died.

    July 15, 2014 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  21. janelle

    Elizabeth Warren's own net worth is over $10 million. It has increased by 29% each of the last 3 years. 29% increase in net worth only happens when you're heavily invested in Wall Street. The same Wall Street she disparages every chance she gets.

    July 15, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  22. Jaxtown

    Obama was against Wall Street – same as Warren. Rhetorics that none of the wealth was earned – same as Obama. Repeated until believed. It is the same ol' same ol' liberal mantra.

    July 15, 2014 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  23. KaitaraCan

    Fauxcahontas. She'll fit right in with the current liar-in-chief. Like obama she lies about everything, her heritage, her affirmative action and getting college money claiming native American heritage, and claiming family recipes taht were printed in the newspaper years before she claimed it as her own.

    However, I would like to see a debate between Fauxcahontas and Benghazi Hillary. It should be aired on comedy central.

    July 15, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  24. Blivethopper

    Big Indian Queen Liz (ard) is on the warpath. Oh, wait, Liz (ard) no Indian speak with forked tongue.

    July 15, 2014 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  25. Tommy Lee

    how in the name of Lenin has this phony injun become the nation's most famous Liberal?

    July 15, 2014 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
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